Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) Executive Director David St. Pierre drew comparisons between his native New Orleans and Chicago during remarks to southern Cook County stormwater management officials on Jan. 23. St. Pierre pointed out that, while the flooding associated with Chicago’s marshland is similar to flooding in New Orleans swamps, at least it's too cold for alligators in Chicago.
Despite any difference in animal habitat, flooding and stormwater management require serious actions in both regions. During an American Public Works Association seminar forum held in Orland Park, St. Pierre explained how the MWRD is working to help local communities address municipal stormwater management needs and incorporate green infrastructure.
“We all know that stormwater entering combined sewer systems results in an excessive amount of water in the system which can lead to basement backups and flooding,” St. Pierre said. “We also know the toolbox, and we know the green infrastructure techniques in that toolbox. The only piece missing is a plan. There has to be a technically engineered-designed plan that combines pipes and green infrastructure in order for there to be effective stormwater management.”
He explained that the MWRD is working on a regional stormwater plan, and within the next six months, the MWRD will be working with communities to help them develop plans that incorporate green infrastructure.
“It is critical that any activity designed to minimize stormwater is planned and not arbitrary.” St. Pierre said. “The MWRD looks forward to working with communities, engineers and residents to collect volumes of water on a localized basis.”
Other speakers included Amy Walkenbach, Manager of the Watershed Management Section with Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) in Springfield; Thomas Carroll, Chief Subdivision Engineer and Director of the Will County Stormwater Management Planning Committee; and Mark Willobee, Senior Engineer at Geosyntec, Project Manager for the Hickory Creek Watershed Study and member of the IEPA Post Development Standards Workgroup.
John F. Mayer of Engineering Resource Associates, Inc. was the event organizer. “Effectively addressing stormwater management from a water quality and quantity perspective requires an understanding of the problem and the casting of a vision for what it will take to fix these problems,” Mayer said. “The variety of speakers and topics at today’s seminar provided very helpful knowledge toward the goal of accomplishing real stormwater solutions.”
Additional information about the MWRD can be found at www.mwrd.org.
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